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DIGITAL digest

January 2003
Computer-to-Plate Has Positive Effect

NEW YORK CITY—TrendWatch Graphic Arts has released its first report focused exclusively on direct-to-plate technologies. According to the market report, the once doubtful commercial printer community has overwhelmingly begun to embrace and benefit from the now decade-old technology. Among the survey findings cited as supporting this conclusion are:

* 39 percent of all print businesses perceive direct-to-plate as having a positive effect in their operations.

* 55 percent of sheetfed offset press shops perceive direct-to-plate as having a positive impact on their business.

* An additional 17 percent of sheetfed press shops plan to start using digital plates, while 36 percent will use more digital plates this year.

* Only 2 percent of print businesses surveyed in the spring of 2002 planned to invest in a film imagesetter.

"Other direct-to technologies—such as direct-imaging presses, digital color presses and color copiers—are beginning to carve their niche in specified markets and will impact CTP players over time," notes Vince Naselli, director of TrendWatch Graphic Arts. "Yet change is slow, especially during economically-challenged times. For the near term, CTP adoption continues to track strongly as a planned investment."

For users looking to get the most out of their computer-to-plate systems, the Graphic Arts Technical Foundation (GATF) has released a new study on digital plate performance, entitled the "GATF Computer-to-Plate Performance Study." It is intended to provide printers with objective information about the current plate options available for CTP workflows.

Fourteen different CTP plates were evaluated in the study. Participating companies were given an EPS file and information on plate size and image setback for the test's Komori L628 sheetfed press. The findings are said to examine the variability of a printing system as a result of plates only, with the report providing comparisons of print attributes, plate curves and plate roll-ups.

Print-on-Demand Market: Growing

CHICAGO—The digital print-on-demand market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 14 percent through 2006, becoming a $50.5 billion market, according to a recently released report. This growth rate is said to be significantly faster than the 2 percent increase expected for the overall printing and publishing market. The white paper—entitled "Taking the Next Step"—was prepared for IBM by CAP Ventures in Norwell, MA.

Spending is expected to continue to climb as printers realize the benefits of faster job turnaround, cost-effective short runs, less waste and personalized, variable data print applications made possible with digital print technologies. It asserts that effective front-end software and workflow solutions are as critical to a successful production printing deployment as high-speed, high-quality print hardware.

For a copy of the white paper, contact IBM's Rose Guarino at (631) 499-2167 or

Companies Mentioned:


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